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Full text of "[Letter] to the editor of the "Valley Gleaner", March 22d, 1900"

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41 Liberty Street. 
New York, ?!arch 22d, 1900. 

To the Fditor of the "Valley Gleaner." 

Tear Sir: 

So much has been written about the proposed trolley lines 
in Lenox, that it may be an unnecessary task to say more, and impossible; 
perhaps, to throw any further light upon the subject. 

It seems, though, that the views of the many summer residents have 
never been fully and clearly expressed, but that, on the contrary, they 
have been occasionally misrepresented. 

As one of such summer residents, J he writer takes the libarty of 
addressing you, and through you the voters of the Town of Lenox, to state 
distinctly what is desired and what really seems to be in all ways the 
best for all of the inhabitants of our town, whether voters or non- 
voters, whether rich or poor; yet the subject is so large a one, that 
it is barely possible to cover all the points within the limits of a 
letter cf moderate length. 

Lenox, in some ways, differs from all other towns: whatever pros- 
perity came to it in former + imes, when it was a manufacturing town -- as 
it once was -- or when it was the County Seat -- as it so long continued 
to be -- has now, under modern conditions, sought the railroad centres, 
rather than remain at the geographical centre of the County, and to-da y, 
Lenox ewes all of its present prosperity to its summer residents -- every 
dollar, we may say, that comes into the. town, comes directly or indirect- 
ly from them: without them it would be almost a region of abandoned 
farms, without churches, libraries, banks, stores or workshops, for 
though much of its soil is good, it is too far from any market to render 
farming rea'ly profitable. Now, such being the case, if it is un- 




reasonable to hope that the wishes of these real and only supporters of 

Lenox should, be considered, it, at any rate, seems to be most unwise- to 
destroy; or drive away, or impair this sure and only source of revenue; 
and that a trolley line over one of the principal roads of the town, past 
many of its finest residences, through its main streets, would have such 
an effect, is believed to be the case + o a much greater degree than most 
people imagine. Some of the owners of the many country seats would sell 
at a loss and move away to other towns, already the rivals of Lenox in 
rural attractions, new people would not come to buy and build, thus 
lowering the values or price of land, and diminishing the demand for 
building and for labor of all sorts, and consequently lowering the scale 
of wages. Others, who now come and hire houses for the season, or who 
come to beard and lodge, would go elsewhere, so that rents would fall, 
marketing and all farm produce would cease to be in such demand, and 
every individual in the place would experience the depressing effect and 
be more or less a loser. 

For what is it that has made Lenox attractive to this class of 
summer visitors? It is not only its healthfulne ss and the beauty of its 
scenery, but also the peaceful, restful character of the region that 
renders it so desirable. The possibility of enjoying the beauty of its 
hills and valleys, its woods and streams, is chiefly facilitated by its 

smooth highways, upon which in the past it has been found worth while to 

lavish thousands of dollars to maintain.- for this very purpose, and driv- 
ing and riding are the chief pastimes and attractions of the place -- 
golf and tennis may have their day as amusements, but the drives have 
constituted and would always const it\ite the main charm of Lenox. 

Now, if this quiet is destroyed by noisy cars, and the principal 
rond of all (the one which is travelled the most frequently, and often 
of necessity in going and coming), rendered unsafe and practically 
closed -- for though some horses will face a trolley car amid the crowded 
streets of a town, very few of them will encounter one alone on a country 
road without imperilling life and limb -- the result will surely be that 

all who can will seek other places where these drawbacks to their comfort 
and safety are not. 

There are, no doubt, some voters in Lenox who have not much to 
lose. If they should not find lucrative employment there, they would, be 
■ able to move elsewhere, and for them these arguments may not apply; we 
can only apieal + o them to vote for what seems just and right: there may 
be a few (1ft us hope that they are ve-y few) who e^en take the ground 
that whatever is bad for the rich man is good for the poor man and vice 
versa -- to such we can only say that we believe they are . mistaken, t>t 
what is best for the one is best for the other and for all; but there 
are many others to whom it must be evident that the prosperity and wel- 
fare of Lenox is their prosperity and welfare also. 

Now what is it that the summer residents propose? Not that there 
shall be nc trolley connection with Pittsfield at all, if such is desir- 
ed, but merely that the line shall not pass over, or near to, our chief 
thoroughfares and through the most valuable neighborhoods. This thay 
all strenuously oppose, and to obviate this, some of them purpose build- 
ing a trolley line from the village to the railroad station; this of 
itself will afford very great facilities, for the railroad company al- 
ready run very many trains daily, both North and South; but more than 
this, if the Pittsfield Street ^a"lroi::d Company will build and maintain 
a trolley line in the valley, near to and parallel with the railroad 
line, many of the summer residents stand ready to help them, and all 
will facilitate their so doing. . There are not so very many houses 
along the main road from Lenox to Pittsfield, and it is justly claimed 
that the valley line would afford facilities to a greater number of 
Lenox residents than any other. It would be in direct continuance of 
the proposed line from Lee, and would also accommodate all the inhabi- 
tants cf New Lenox and Lenox Dale, which a line on the main road would 


not do at all; and so, for all these reasons, it surely must be to the 
best advantage of the Lenox Dale and New Lenox residents to join in 

furthering such a route, and to oppose, by their votes, those who favor 
the line on the main road. 

Now as «-o the residents of the village of Lenox: While this valley 
line might be a little longer, and the journey occupy a very few more 
minutes of time, these disadvantages are more than compensated for by 
the fact that it would undoubtedly be the most serviceable route in the 
winter time, when perhaps it would be the most in demand -- for we all 
know that on the main road the drifts would be s^ch as to prevent all 
trclley traffic there for long periods of time together, and they should 
also consider that if they put up with the inconvenience of a slightly 
longer route, they can, at the same time, maintain the present prosperity 
of Lenox from which all benefit -- for such a line, if of any inconven- 
ience to riders and drivers, would be so in the minimum degree, and in 
all probability Lenox would not lose any of its paying summer population, 
but go on increasing in prosperity in the future as it has in the pas-t-. - — 

Finally, if the Pittsfield authorities decide to allow the trolley 
company to run down South Street to the Lenox line, o~, as it. is intend- 
ed, to a point South of the old Morewood house, and thence to the East 
of South Mountain, it would still seem to be the wisest course for 
Lenox to have the line from this terminus carried diagonally over to 
New Lenox, and thence down the valley along the railroad line. 

These propositions are surely not unreasonable, but to the best 
interest of every Lenox resident. 

Yours very truly, 

\J~ £lsi*<f' V tt****^ *fH#\